Word of Life Project Trip - Part II

The eMi team - (L to R) Denis, me, Matt, Pearly, Rachel, Kelly, Rick, Kate, Josh and Eric
Part II of III
Thursday February 11, 2010:

Jonah and I woke up around 7am and went for breakfast and devotion time with the team. Jonah was so good during the devotion time – he didn’t make any noise and seemed to be interested in what was going on. Afterwards, I headed out surveying again and Jonah was all over helping me.


Intern Matt and I heading out to survey.

Jonah and Graysen were willing helpers.

The damp bandanas we tied on our head were lifesavers from the scorching sun.
Though we didn’t know it at the time, the survey problems from the day before carried over into today. For some reason, our points kept showing up about 200 meters away from where they should be and about 25 meters lower in elevation. Standing out in the blazing sun all day only to find out that you need to re-shoot everything you’ve just shot places a special kind of strain on your patience! In the end, intern Rachel was able to clean up our mess on the computer, but there was a lot of re-doing and tweaking that made for a frustrating day.
...not a happy camper.
Working on inputting the troubled survey data into the computer, Intern Rachel was not a happy camper either. Though in the end, she got it all put together perfectly!
The good thing was that Alisha and the boys returned to hang out and pick up Jonah. I was wishing that he could just stay for the rest of the trip, but he had school and a swim meet that he’s in so he needed to leave. Alisha came and sat with me while I ran the surveying instrument – so it was definitely the most enjoyable survey I’ve done, even if it did have lots of problems (no, Alisha did not cause the problems by distracting me!)
At night, when I went in to shower for bed, seeing Jonah’s empty bunk was sad. I really enjoyed having him along. If I keep doing eMi project trips, I am going to try to start bringing one of the boys along with me. It’a a great experience for them and makes it much more enjoyable for me as well. It’s also a great chance for me to connect with my sons, and for them to be a part of my work life too. I know it has an impact as just this past Tuesday at school it was spirit week and Graysen decided to dress up as me on “What I want to do when I grow up” day. He made his own outfit (once again!) and it was amazing to hear the details he noticed about me.
Friday February 12, 2010:
One of the things I am trying to think about on this trip is what Alisha and I should be looking to do after our time in Africa. We are considering staying on with eMi from the Colorado Springs office, but we want to be sure that we’re doing what God wants us to do. In some ways, staying with eMi is much more difficult than just returning to the States and finding a job (though I am keenly aware of the tough job market back home). But in thinking and praying this all through, I realize that I have really been focusing on the practical side of ‘figuring everything out’.
During our devotional time, the idea of not looking down at our feet when we’re learning to walk or snow-ski came up, and I realized that this is exactly what I’ve been doing in this decision process. The idea is that to step out in faith, sometimes we need to keep our eyes focused on what we feel God is leading us to do rather than trying to ‘look down at our feet’ by focusing on each and every practical detail of getting there. It’s really a radical idea, especially for a planner like me, but I think it’s exactly how God wants us to live. Now for us, whether that’s stepping out in faith to stay with eMi from the headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, or whether it’s stepping out in faith to find a different job that would use some of the skills I’ve learned working with eMi – that is what we need to decide.
I will say that as a missions organization, I think eMi is an excellent model for missions work in the world. I think getting people involved in missions who otherwise wouldn’t be, and then using those people’s skills to help the global missions effort achieve higher standards and be more effective in their ministry, as well as be more cost-efficient with their facility building process is a great example for building the kingdom of God in the world. So from a standpoint of worthiness, I can’t imagine finding a more worthwhile organization to work for.
As far as the day goes, it was kind of a grind-it-out work time in the work room. We have to have the presentation ready by tomorrow (Saturday night) since Thomas informed me we’ll be gone most of the morning and afternoon in town for church (we’re going to two services!). The presentation will then be whenever we get back to the site.
At night, a group of seven young businessmen from Kampala came for a discipleship training course for the weekend. After they finished their class around 11pm, they invited us to play basketball. So five of us went down and played with them for an hour or so under makeshift lights setup alongside the court. Playing in the dark, except for a few bright spotlights blinding us, with a black basketball was interesting to say the least.
Saturday February 13, 2010:
The final work day arrived with the project in good shape. The problems with the survey reverberated into other areas, since the final master plan couldn’t be completed until the survey was drawn up, and the civil drawings (drainage, water and wastewater) couldn’t be completed until the master plan was set. But overall, we were in good shape, so the day wasn’t too stressful.

Volunteer architect Pearly working hard on the architectural renderings.

Volunteer graphic artist Kelly and the architects had some late nights.


Pearly and Denis coordinating the architecture and civil designs.


Beef jerky is a big part of a successful project trip.
We even had time for a lengthy theological discussion about the nature of Hell and the various differences between Calvinism, Armenianism, and the open view of God. Intern Matt, volunteer Rick and I enjoyed the friendly discussion of how God relates to His creation and what the ultimate fate will be for those who reject Jesus. Great stuff – I highly recommend anyone interested read a book titled, “The Four Views on Hell”. It’s a compare and contrast book written by four Christians with different views of what Hell is, with each proponent critiquing each others’ positions. The conclusion is then left to the reader to make for him or herself.
It was also hot today, so we were sweating pretty good inside the work room. But other than that, I think our team really enjoyed hanging out together working on finishing the presentation. We’ve shared many laughs and light-hearted moments this week, and also some great times during devotions.
Whether I remain involved with eMi full-time or not, I really believe in the work of eMi and the model of not just helping the humanitarian need around the world, but promoting ministries who are reaching the lost and discipling believers in Christ who otherwise would have little or no access to gaining mentoring and instruction in their faith and personal bible study. And on top of that, eMi trips have a big impact on the lives of the team members as many times they are confronted for the first time in person with the extreme need of so many people around the world. It is such a privilege to be involved with a team of design professionals from all over the world who come together to use their skills and training to work for creating opportunity for the less fortunate as well as supporting the kingdom of God in the world. It’s hard to imagine a better ministry for someone with my background to be involved with.


It's not all work during the week - we have a worship and devotion time each morning. Intern Matt did a great job leading us in worship.

...and there's time for just hanging out too. Denis' fiance Sarah (far right) came out to visit a couple times during the week. Denis is Canadian, and Sarah is South African...I don't envy their visa issues in the coming few years! :)

In some ways, working with eMi has caused Alisha and I to sacrifice some things – financial opportunities and living a certain lifestyle that a well-paying job would support. But in so many other ways, it’s been an amazing journey of faith and trust to be able to serve God using my skills and training with the backing of so many friends and family who have supported us financially. Thinking of our ministry as a team effort is really satisfying for us as we depend on others to affect the world for the gospel. Receiving support has been the hardest part for me, as I crave to be able to provide for myself and my family. But God has taught me that He is sufficient for us, and that my ‘right’ to provide for my family is really His responsibility, not mine. While I don’t necessarily like the idea of it, at the same time it has stripped me of my pride, which is exactly where God wants me to be – humbled and broken before Him so that we rely on His provision, not our own. As the head of my household, it’s a difficult concept to give over to God. But to those whom He calls to live that lifestyle (pastors, missionaries, etc.), it can be a wonderful experience as we become partnered with and reliant on others to enable us to be effective in our ministry. It makes me feel very thankful for the people who have supported us to work with eMi. Though I would much prefer to be on the other side of the equation by being on the support team, our family has been tremendously blessed by the generosity and love of our supporters and I feel honored to be able to serve with eMi on behalf of our supporters. So thank you to so many of you!


This fuzzy moth sat here on the building for a few hours, laying eggs. That's Brodie's hand, so the wingspan as it is in this picture is around 5 inches!

Comments

lazrus2 said…
Brad,

Thanks for describing your ministry and especially sharing the spiritual insights you're gaining through it.

Dependency does have a very effective way of 'clearing our spiritual vision' to see life His way! I appreciate your willingness to admit it and determine to 'walk closer' with Him on that 'higher way'.

Would that we could all 'see that clearly' from this side of the globe!

God bless you as you keep your 'eyes fixed on Him'!!

Dana (& Nick)
Traci Morrow said…
Brother Brad, I can barely see as I type for my tears, but what a BEAUTIFULLY written journal of what God is doing in you.

The part about craving to provide for your family while accepting that its God's role just overwhelmed me. Its who He is. Its HIS world, HIS call, and HIS blessing to provide for you as you do exactly what HE'S called you to!

This is by far my most favorite blog of yours - and I've loved them all - but this is the RAW YOU. :) And I LOVE THAT GUY!!! :)

xoxoxox

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